"Republicans and Democrats agree the law is broken. The Bush-era legislation has led to schools being labeled failures even though they are making improvements, and has discouraged states from adopting higher standards. Duncan said he's encouraged by talks with federal lawmakers in recent weeks indicating the law might see revisions this year. But he said he wants a backup plan in case that doesn't happen. "We can't afford to do nothing," he said.I hope that at some point, we all will realize that top down measures for educational reform will not work as well as those from the bottom up, and this too, involves the hands' close proximity to the problems at hand. Get administrators out of the way instead of forcing them to interfere in classroom management, then allow teachers to teach from the foundation of a clear understanding of what works. We all know that we learn best, learn most thoroughly, with the greatest energy and enthusiasm for learning and to greatest lasting effect when we learn hands on. It is a matter we each can test for ourselves, and then put in practice if we are brave enough to do so. Call it the strategic implementation of the hands. Where it must be done behind the back of reluctant administrators, call it the surreptitious, strategic implementation of the hands. In either case, put the hands to work for benefit of learning.
Duncan said the department is talking to state officials, teachers, principals and parents about how to help schools if the law isn't rewritten. He said any actions taken by the department would not prevent Congress from continuing to negotiate re-authorization.
The news comes as relief for governors, who say their schools should not be punished because of an outdated law. In Georgia, for example, the state Department of Education is creating a "performance index" that measures growth in academic achievement rather than just year-to-year test scores and looks at more subjects than just reading and math, the only two required under the federal law."
Does this sound overly simplistic? Believe me, there is nothing simple about the hands. They have given shape to human intelligence and the entirety of human culture. Then again, a bit of training helps. Please don't leave them dangling.
The photo is from last year's ESSA class for teachers that I co-taught with Dr. Peggy Kjelgaard, The Brain, the Hands and the Arts.
Make, fix and create.